Politburo Meeting in Moscow

On the Benefits and Risks of ‘Taking Over’ the USA

President Putin opens an emergency session of the Politburo. On the agenda: The United States. “We are ready, comrades, to realize the glory of our ambitions. We already own the U.S. President, and if he wins a second term, America is ours for the taking. Even if he loses, our fake vaccine will finish the job he’s started. I’ve asked you here today to consider an important question: do we want it?”

A new, younger member is the first to respond: “Surely we want it – we’ve spent the last five years undermining them at every turn, with great success. Maybe a better question is ‘how should we reap the rewards of our great victory?’ What are the benefits of a complete takeover, as satisfying as it may be to our forebearers, who succumbed to U.S. aggression 30 years ago? Why do we want to take on 300 million people who can’t agree on anything? If you think Ukraine was a headache, America would be a never-ending migraine.”

Putin considered the point before responding.  “Think of all their natural assets—oil, gas, minerals, agriculture. We can take whatever we need and want and give the Chinese what is left over. The Chinese will love us for it – and leave us alone, maybe forever.”

Another member interjects: “If they cannot feed themselves, how in God’s name are we going to do that?”

Putin fixed a steely gaze on the questioner. “You are missing the point, comrade. We don’t care if most of them are fed. We are only interested in the scientists and the serfs. The fewer Americans, the more we can pillage their agriculture, manufacturing and labor to our ends. Those who survive will love us, whether out of fear or favor. Surely you recognize the purpose behind our phony vaccine?”

This startling back and forth went on for quite a while, with Putin just barely holding on. “They are ungovernable,” one minister insisted. “The central authority lets armed vigilantes roam freely, and even the less deranged among the citizenry are heavily armed.”

At that point, Putin ended the meeting. “I guess we need to think about this some more.”

The next day, the headlines in Moscow’s leading papers reported that the new vaccine was making half the recipients seriously ill, with no scientific evidence that it could prevent Covid-19.

The Politburo meets again. Putin said “I guess that great idea I had yesterday is not going to work the way we had planned. Any new ideas?”

The new younger members spoke up again. “With all respect, Comrade Putin, somebody sold you a rotten tomato with that vaccine. Perhaps we should be going at it the other way around. If we collaborated with the USA, and both of us benefited, together we could really put it to our ‘friends’ in China to leave us and the US alone?”

Putin stared angrily at the young upstart. “You do not understand what I like about Trump. He is the dumbest and most inept person in history to lead any country, large or small. All we need to do is let him think he has taken us over and then we give him an easy double flip. He will then be gone, and we will have taken over. They will never see it coming. How is that for traditional Russian cleverness!?

Another Politburo younger member broke in. “Respectfully, sir, how do you expect to manage an American election?”

Putin laughed out loud. “We managed it quite well in 2016, even before we had a gullible fool in the Oval Office. I told Trump how we suppress and manage our voting process – including our postal system — to get the results we want. Now, he is actually trying to do exactly what I suggested! What I did not tell him is how it backfires sometimes.”

The young upstart then asked, “What if he wins? What is your next move?”

Putin replied confidently. ” The next move is his. He claims victory in America and we agree to be taken over. He’ll be thrilled to claim another victory, one the hawks have sought for years. Then we flip him. He’s so stupid and vainglorious he’ll never suspect the truth.”

Younger member” How are you going to ensure he wins the election? He appears to be losing rather handily, and only two months remain.”

Putin smirked knowingly. “I have, you surely know, never lost an election. Losing is for losers. Between our social media propaganda, hacking voting systems and power grids, and Trump’s willingness – eagerness – to manipulate the U.S. postal service, the glorious Russian victory we have awaited so long will finally be ours! Trump will claim the credit; that is fine, because we will claim his country. Perhaps we’ll carve him into Mount Rushmore as a consolation prize.”’

Do Not Look a Gift Horse in the Mouth

Unless you really wanna look at the teeth!

I grew up among horses and I recall a common saying – ‘never look a gift horse in the mouth.’ It took me a long time to get it.

If the first thing you do when someone gives you a horse is to look in its mouth, you are in effect questioning the value of the gift, because the way to determine the age of a horse is to look at its teeth.

That is plainly rude and offensive to the gift giver – the equivalent of looking at the price tag on more common gifts.

So, when you encounter this saying, you are hearing both a warning that something may not be what it seems.

One can think of many such warnings we are getting today including most of what comes through Trump’s teeth.

Lies, lots of lies! But what lies behind those lies –stupidity, ignorance, insanity, greed and selfishness.

I would rather be accused of being rude because of wanting to know someone’s age than be charged with stupid lying!

Horses are actually very intelligent critters. They know when the starting bell rings they are supposed to start running like hell.

They have great memories; for example, they like the smell of flowers around their neck.

And, they love it when they are admired in the winner’s circle.

If more of us were as smart as our horses, our world would be a better place!

The End or Beginning … Of Something

But What?

I continue to be overwhelmed by a sense that something very basic is happening in and to our world. But I cannot quite put my finger on what that may be or, of course, what to do about it!

I find that the best way to start thinking about questions like this is to make an inventory of the important subjects that are involved, and there are a lot of them, so permit me to be VERY brief.

PUBLIC HEALTH—the whole world is engulfed with a pandemic potentially as widespread as any before in history?

ECONOMIC HEALTH—fragile the world over, for good guys and bad guys alike.

POLITICAL HEALTH—democracies are simultaneously confronting deep divisions and authoritarian wannabes eager to exploit those divides for personal power and enrichment.

INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS—As the U.S. has undermined the post-war order, allies no longer fully trust us, and enemies are eagerly recasting regional and global ambitions.

EDUCATION—It’s dangerous to send kids to school and harmful to keep them away. We need to find new ways to address the educational, social, and health needs of our kids – fast.

ENTERTAINMENT AND SPORTS– apart from (old) TV and outdoor showings of (also old) movies, it is hard for people to enjoy their down time.

SUPPLY CHAINS—are becoming more and more attenuated and are gradually limiting consumer choice by absence and pushing prices higher.

FINANCIAL MARKETS—are acting VERY strangely with fixed-income securities yielding virtually zero and stock/equity markets booming as if we might be on the brink of a brave new world?

That is a good, if incomplete, summary of where our world is at this moment.

The real question is, what are the signs that might point to where we’re headed.

They are NOT blindingly visible.

At one moment, I see the end of humanity as we have known it. In the next, I sense that the stage is being set for dramatic change that results in a new and better world.  

Both possibilities have characteristics that point in BOTH directions –good and bad – perhaps more distinctly than ever before.

BAD- chaos generally leads to more chaos but also may enable a great leader?

GOOD- just turn around bad above?

In both cases IF we respond intelligently, adroitly and quickly, things could work out quite well and we could learn a lot more about our world going forward.

But, if we do not respond well –as we have not yet done this year so far—we could be in BIG trouble. Another reason for a new President.

That dichotomy suggests to me that what we DO see now may determine the path ahead for a long time – which might not be your old-fashioned forever which maybe is never?

First, I do suggest that we stop assuming things will work out fine if we just leave them alone. Everything that “works out fine” has multitudes of people who toiled, often invisibly and at great personal cost, to making that “fine” ending possible.

Second, I suggest that we begin to worry more about massive inflation and/or deflation which would rearrange all the wealth and human behavior on earth in very different and major ways. Inflation to get rid of the debt; deflation to squeeze out the poorest in society. The distribution of wealth is a serious problem, one that should be addressed directly rather than as an unintended consequence of economics.

Third, we simply can’t go it alone. Our own fate is intertwined with friends and foes across the globe, and many of the challenges are bigger than any one of us.

Finally, after the November election, we must immediately convene a major global conference to figure out how to address these questions, hopefully before the whole apple cart has already turned over!

We have too many slippery apples to pick them up one at a time.

Who Am I?

Where Am I?

What is going on here?

I just woke up from a bad dream – I think — or maybe I am still dreaming? There are no ambient lights at all. I feel alone, abandoned, scared to death —maybe I am dead?

I used to be an almost 90-year-old, a bit concerned about the coronavirus, but not so concerned as to abandon planning for my 100th birthday on February 14, 2031.

And now, this sudden realization that my 100th may beyond my reach.

OR, maybe, because I am apparently thinking these thoughts, there is something after life to experience?

So, this what it is like to be dead?  

But, if I am dead but still somehow alive – at least my thoughts – where are all the others like me?

Do you suppose there is some selection process—random or planned—to give some –a few –a new form of life? If that’s the case, how on earth did I make the cut?

Is this form of after-life purely imaginary, or possibly fleeting? What if I am cremated? Does that burn this bridge to my earthly past along with my bones and tissues?

So, what’s next? Perhaps I should just go back to sleep for a bit and see if maybe I wake up, perhaps when the sun comes up.  That sleep is yummy and especially satisfying. I tempted by the hope that when I do wake the elections will be over.

I have no memory of what was going on before I went to sleep. I vaguely recall people fussing over me in the bed.

Now I recall the crash of my car, when everything suddenly went black.

Maybe I am not yet dead but –almost – I must hang on – it is too soon to let go.

Too many things to finish. I need to see the great grands grow up!

I need to see Biden/Harris win and make life worth living again.

I wonder who is hanging on to me from life’s side. Does anyone really want me to hang on?

And then suddenly the lights go on – too bright.

Where am I? It looks, smells and feels like a hospital room.

I guess this is where I ended up after the crash.

Did I die for a bit?  

Then I saw Denie, looking great. ” Can you hear me?” she asked.

I nodded.

She added, “I have great news: Kamala Harris is President!”

I am alive again!

Vote by USPS Mail

With a Couple of Tweaks at the Local Level

The obvious: In a well-functioning democracy, all eligible voters should be assured of not only their ability to cast a ballot, but that it also will be counted. That the U.S. is challenged on both counts by this President is, perhaps, the best of the many, many reasons to turn him out of office. (Indeed, it’s his fear of such a result that drives his desire to cripple the U.S. mail.)

The antidote to what ails us, of course, is simply voting! And, despite his best efforts, Trump is essentially hamstrung, because while he might be able to slow down the mail (including prescription drugs, unemployment checks, and all sorts of other things his own voters depend on), he cannot stop the mail entirely.

So, here are some simple steps to ensure your ballot counts:

First, request a mail-in ballot NOW. Contact your local or state Board of Elections. Most jurisdictions let you request one online. Requesting it early means you’ll get one of the first batches of ballots to go out after your state starts sending them (typically 21-45 days in advance of the election).

Second, cast your ballot right away. There is no need to wait until closer to election day (if you have made up your mind and if you have not –no worries) and returning your ballot well in advance of November 3rd will allow ample time for delivery.

Third, be aware of the rules in your state governing mail-in ballots. Again, check with your Board of Elections, and/or read your ballot CAREFULLY. Some states have loosened rules to make it easier to vote during a pandemic (waiving witness requirements, for example). Whatever the particular rules are, follow them to the letter. 

Fourth, make sure your ballot is received ON TIME. Many states put a bar code on the return envelope so that they can know who has already voted and are able to verify receipt. OR, if you have any doubt about the Postal Service’s ability to deliver your ballot in a timely manner, seek out alternatives. Some jurisdictions will have “drop-boxes” in central locations; if your municipal offices are open, you may be able to simply drop it off at the local Board of Elections office. 

Fifth, if there is no such drop box BEFORE election day, there will surely be one on election day itself. And, you will neither have to stand in line with strangers nor go into the voting room.

Sixth, if worse comes to worst and you find yourself at risk of being disenfranchised, find a member of the Press to whom you can tell your story. The media will be on high alert right up through election day, and your experience could be part of a BIG story if there is enough effective suppression going on.

A highly effective fail-safe could be to station drop-boxes outside of all polling places on Election Day. Those would be controlled by election workers (not the post office), who would simply deliver the deposited ballots to the local Elections office after the polls had closed.

Most likely, Trump is just blustering. The USPS and its people take pride in their age-old institution and in their ability to get their job done through all manner of adversity — come rain or shine! And Trump himself would seem to have little to gain by compelling people to cast their votes early. All the polls have him losing, and with the first mail-in ballots slated to be sent out in a matter of weeks, a savvier politician would likely want more time to press his/her case to the voting public.

For all the bluster and malevolence, it’s important to remember that Trump is essentially cornered and grasping (gasping?) at straws.  He has played his highest card and tipped his hand much too soon.  

Now we must play our cards — wisely and timely!

A note to readers: Almost 900,000 people have already signed a petition to urge the removal of Louis DeJoy, the Trump donor and ally spearheading the mail slow-down as Postmaster General. I urge you to add your name. 

https://sign.moveon.org/petitions/board-of-governors-of-the-united-states-postal-service-remove-louis-dejoy

This Too Will Pass

But What Will Follow?

In the late 1970s, interest rates got way out of line, with the prime rate over 10% and many other rates more than 20%. Ronald Reagan, campaigning for the presidency, famously combined the prime rate with the unemployment rate to create an otherwise fictional and nonsensical “misery index.” But it was catchy, reflected an underlying truth about public perception of the economy, and helped catapult the former actor to the highest office in the land. 

Today interest rates are again way out of line – in the opposite direction, with the best US Government rates hovering around 0%. Interestingly, Reagan’s formulation still holds: the official 10+% unemployment rate — far higher in reality – amply offsets near-zero interest rates and one need not be an economist to recognize the misery for many of the current moment.

Neither of those extremes are normal. They are, in fact, so far afield from “normal” conditions that they can be difficult to explain or understand.

Yet, there is one thing which I think most of us would agree with—unless the end of our world is at hand, which I doubt: THIS TOO WILL PASS.

But what will follow? That is today’s only important question.

If I were being flip, I might say ‘wait 40 years and interest rates will be back to 20%’!

But this is not a moment to be flip.

One big difference between 1980 and now is that the instantaneous flow of information globally, which was getting underway in 1980, has achieved what is now close to maximum penetration.

That suggests to me that when a trend develops, the magnification of knowledge due to the internet creates a force in and of itself, which then develops a momentum that carries things well past what makes sense.

That tells me quite clearly that this moment of ‘free’ money cannot last long, simply because –unless our free market system is abandoned—it is contrary to all the basic rules of financial and human behavior.

So, what follows must be a ‘reversion to the mean.’

That means we should expect interest rates to rise into a normal range.

And, when that happens, investable money will move away from stocks –where it has been going lately because bonds yield so little. Equity is the only money-making game in town now, which accounts for our bull stock market in the middle of a budding depression. As interest rates rise, much of the money now directed to the stock markets will go back into bonds again (a relatively safe, if less lucrative, shelter for money). And, as the massive federal stimulus winds down (now or after another round of relief), the stock market will again more closely reflect underlying economic realities.

What does that mean in plain and simple English?

It means that, today, stocks must be overpriced, and bonds are underperforming. That will absolutely pass, sooner or later, so get ready for a more normal world of stocks that bear a recognizable relation to conditions of the companies that issue them and bonds that pay more than hiding money under your mattress would.

Whatever that means for you, it will be beneficial to overall economic growth, and ultimately for all of us. 

So fasten your seat belts, secure your parachute and sit back and hope for the best!

Beware the Lure of Free Money

It can distort human behavior!

What is free money?

With interest rates at or near zero, or even below, who would not want to borrow all they could? And, if it is offered with no conditions, or anything else in exchange, to people in general simply because they need it through no fault of theirs, they would be fools not to take their share.

To be certain, economic stimulus plays a vital role in moments of crisis, propping up markets and offsetting a decline in consumer activity to help businesses ride out the storm. But deficit hawks hand out three trillion unfunded dollars for one reason, and one reason only: votes. If you were a candidate for President, or for either House of Congress, you’d be hard-pressed to pass up a deal that lets the US Treasury try to buy your votes with other people’s money. Even better, it’s perfectly legal!

The catch, obviously, is that free money isn’t free. It might be free to the recipient, but somehow, somewhere down the line, someone will pay an equal or greater price. Eventually, bills do come due.

There basically are only three ways the money ever will be paid back to either the Treasury or the Federal Reserve.

First, there is the possibility that the borrower/user will simply pay it back on time, or before it is even due, to ’clean up’ their balance sheet. But despite this extravagant support, some businesses are unlikely to survive the pandemic. Others will be left to pick up the tab. Even worse, in the case of direct stimulus checks to taxpayers and the Payroll Protection Program’s forgivable loans, no one yet is even asking how to get the money back!

Another possibility is that inflation will in due course effectively shrink the amount owed (which is fixed) while other assets presumably appreciate with inflation. This is the default result of inaction – and there may be no one in the country who believes that Congress is likely to act in a meaningful manner anytime soon.

Lastly is the possibility that exchange rates with other countries’ currencies will effectively decrease the value of the nominal amount originally issued. As the U.S. dollar increases in value, the cost of foreign money decreases. This is the most likely outcome but presupposes a level of economic activity and growth that spurs a rise in the dollar relative to other currencies.

In the short-term, free money  may appear to be a win-win-win: politicians curry favor with the people who will decide their fate; many people avoid calamity and are able to pay for housing, food and other necessities; and for everyone else we hope it buys the time to end the virus crisis before it completely destroys our economy.

The lure of free money should be clear.

The consequences are far less clear.

The political presumption is that it is far more desirable to buy time than to accept defeat prematurely, especially with an election looming. The practical reality is that, once again, the can has been kicked down the road – along with climate change and Middle East peace – for our grandkids to worry about.

Our grands will think we were just dumb or didn’t care.

We care a lot BUT were presented with circumstances, spelled T-R-U-M-P, that left us only two choices: to die rich or poor!

I know which I prefer.

TikTok Time Bomb?

Starting with Treasury Playing Goldman Sachs

Trump is on the way out AND is playing games with America by demanding that Microsoft pay a big fee to the US Treasury for his supposedly setting up the deal to allow it to acquire TikTok.

On the face of it, Trump would not appear to benefit personally, but from everything we know of the man, I hope smart people will look under all the stones surrounding the deal to be certain that is correct.

There does not appear to be any monopoly issues at issue. Facebook, Google and Twitter already fill the field and mess with our minds.

Given the First Amendment, there is no real question about the legitimacy of social media, despite its distortions of popular thinking. Whether yet another giant in that business is a good thing remains to be seen.

However, a President and ‘his’ Treasury should not be playing Goldman Sachs here. There simply is not a valid government role to broker such a deal. Insisting that the Treasury get paid for such a dubious transaction merely demonstrates Trump’s strange obsession with extracting cash from others, a la the border wall and NATO.  There is a lot more to be learned and seen, but we desperately need both the media and the legal profession to get involved in a big way and reveal all the nonsense involved in this bizarre transaction.

Whatever You Get For Nothing

You tend not to value

This is a strange phenomenon and while, of course, not universal, it pops up frequently in the lives of relatively privileged people.

I know of a woman who received a fabulously valuable natural mink fur coat from her grandmother and proceeded to wear it ‘to death’ in the worst weather and conditions. When asked why she treated it so badly, she answered that it was just an old, beat up warm coat, why should she treat it specially. She had her own mink coat which was used for her special occasions. She dismissed her grandmother’s coat as an old beat up throw away she was disappointed to have received!

I know of another type of situation where a senior employee of a small company had a wife employed by a major big company. The wife’s health benefits covered the husband and were great, but the husband never advised his company, which kept paying about $15,000/year for his family health insurance. When that waste came to light and he was asked why he had allowed the double up to happen, he answered by saying “It was not costing me anything, and who knows what might happen!”

The answer to the basic question is that everything is in the eye of the beholder and different peoples’ eyes and minds see things very differently. It is very difficult to tell the age of a grown horse. So, if you receive a gift of a horse, look in the horse’s mouth and you can pretty well tell the horse’s age from the teeth. An aged free horse may not be worth feeding. Do not take a chance.

As we all go through life, we get lots of things for nothing. A good joke gets a good laugh. Watering your neighbor’s garden while he is out of town presumably begets some gratitude but often goes unremembered and may be even complained about, if some flowers drooped?

As you reflect on this topic I guess you will think of plenty examples in your life –of both giving and receiving –of situations in which ‘free’ can be a confusing and distorting factor which we all need to be aware of and deal with accordingly.

___

Author’s note: I wrote on this same subject back in 2011. That piece addresses added dimensions that today’s readers may find interesting. Click here to read the piece.

‘The’ Election

And the Precedents It Will Clarify and Preserve

We should all be grateful to Donald Trump for taking the first step, prior to the end of his failed Presidency, to ensure that never again will another President make the stupid mistake of ‘threatening’ to cancel or postpone a Presidential election, over which no President has any jurisdiction –for good and obvious reasons- per both the Constitution and several clear laws.

Without his ridiculous threats, the subject would have remained out there as pure speculation. And, the press would have been confined to playing with subject as a possible problem, but not a real one.

Now the Congress, the Courts and the military have been put on notice by the President himself that he must be seriously considering that option. Thus, they all would be remiss if they did not now fully prepare to meet any formal effort of his along those lines expeditiously, forcefully and decisively.

The notion that Trump could extend his term in office is so offensive that it could lead to bloodshed on top of virus deaths!

There are two keys to our democracy. Voting to select a President and voting to deselect a President.

Trump is now trying to use the Post Office budget to limit its ability to handle the mail volume associated with mail in ballots.

Let’s figure that out? Let’s start by assuming that 60,000,000 people – roughly half the electorate – request absentee ballots. That’s a total of 120 million pieces of mail (accounting for the round-trip journey ballots must make).

In the last two years, the U.S. Postal Service has averaged roughly 55 billion pieces of first-class mail delivered annually. That’s an average of 176.3 million pieces of mail on each delivery day, not including package deliveries.

In other words, the cumulative load of an unprecedented level of mail-in voting would be … not even ONE day’s volume of mail.

And the USPS doesn’t have to do this work terribly quickly. On average, states send out mail-in ballots 36 days before an election (the outliers are the states of Washington – 18 days beforehand, and North Carolina, which ships out ballots 60 days in advance of an election). Assuming three days in transit in each direction (generous, given that ballots are mailed out and returned to a local election board), voters have, roughly speaking, a month to complete and return their ballots.

Even if all 60 million absentee voters waited until the last possible moment (3 days before the election, to allow time for delivery), the USPS would need to handle 20 million each day – a drop in the bucket of postal capacity. (It’s also worth noting that 20 years ago, first-class mail volume was nearly double what it is today, suggesting actual postal system capacity may remain far higher when necessary.)

What of the other big argument against mail-in voting, namely fraud? First, domestic voter fraud is vanishingly rare. Some 250 million mail-in ballots have been cast in the last 20 years; in that time, some 143 people have been convicted of fraudulently submitting them. That works out to a not-very-alarming rate of 0.00006% of all mailing in votes being fraudulent. That means fewer than 100 mail-in votes in 2020 can be expected to be frauds – hardly enough to alter the outcome even in a single county.

What, then, of the dark threat of foreign interference raised by Trump and his minions, notably Attorney General William Barr? This, too, is exceedingly unlikely. First, elections are administered not by the federal government, and not by states, but by the counties, cities and towns. Depending on the jurisdiction, the local election authority may have a handful or dozens of variations of ballots it distributes, reflecting state and local races that fall on the same day as the presidential election. In addition, the size, style and other details of mail-in ballots vary from county to county – and change every election cycle. Given that there are 3,141 counties and nearly 20,000 cities, towns and villages, a determined fraud maker getting the details right at a scale that could alter the outcome of an election is next to impossible.

Even if a malicious foreign actor could overcome all those hurdles, there is the matter that about half the states print unique tracking codes on ballot envelopes (primarily to detect duplicate votes by a single individual and, in some jurisdictions, to let people verify that their ballot was received).  Many states require voters to provide additional identifying information when returning their ballots (driver’s license, last four digits of the voters’ social security number) that can be verified against information already on file. Finally, all jurisdictions require voters to sign their ballots (usually along with a witness), and those signatures, too, can be verified against the ones on file.

We also live in an age of massive data, where norms can be established across huge data sets. Deviations from those norms (an inherent component of election-rigging schemes) would set off alarm bells far and wide.

Finally, the verification of printed documents is a well-understood problem. Checks, for example, carry watermarks or security seals that make fraud difficult. Election officials could simply, if they wished, select a code, seal or other security measure to add to their ballots. The mechanism would need to be shared with only the printer – and, again, with some 22,000 entities involved in administering elections, the idea that a foreign actor could “crack the code” for a meaningful number of them, in time to print and ship ballots (that must still match the many variations outlined above), without significant risk of detection, defies logic. 

Make no mistake: it’s not fraud Donald Trump and his now-panicked underlings fear – it’s the judgement of the American people. Fraud is simply the mechanism by which the fraudster-in-chief (Trump University, Trump Foundation, the list goes on) hopes to undermine public confidence in the outcome. It’s not clear that Trump has an endgame for this gambit – it reads more like a desperate play to claim he won, even if he loses handily, in advance of tucking his tail between his legs on his way to Mar-A-Lago.

In the end, Trump’s maneuvering room is incredibly limited. Whatever else happens before then, if, on January 20, 2021 a new President has not been properly selected and certified, the Speaker of the House will automatically become President, who looks likely to be Nancy Pelosi!

So, why not do it the right way: on schedule and on time?